Gender and the Political Economy of Development: From Nationalism to Globalization
February 2002, Polity
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--Diane Elson, University of Essex
Shirin Rai pushes us to rethink development. She brings us to ear a feminist analysis that grows out of her nuanced understanding of both China’s and India's gendered experience. Readers will find fresh ideas and sharp caveats about how patriarchy is sustained and fought over globally.
--Cynthia Enloe, Clark University
This important book ranges across contemporary debates in the study of gender and political economy. It situates differing gender-based theories in the context of wider political and historical processes such as colonialism, post-colonialism, Cold War politics, the New World Order, globalization and democratization.
Shirin Rai focuses on the gendered nature of the political economy of development, and the shifts that have occurred as economies and states have moved from a development process that is state-focused to one that is clearly framed by globalization. Differences between men and women, and differences between women in contrasting social and geographical positions, are explored in relation to their influence on political practice. Rai considers how the structures of economic and political power frame men and women and examines the consequences of these gendered positionings. She makes important connections between the political narratives of different levels of governance and examines the discourse of empowerment at these different levels.
The book concludes by reflecting on the way men and women are coping with the challenges of globalization and argues that women's movements need to re-establish the link between the recognition of difference and the redistribution of economic and social resources if they are to maintain their radical edge.
This will be essential reading for undergraduates and graduates in politics, development studies and gender studies.